Verily! We Have Made That Which Is On Earth As An Adornment For It, In Order That We May Test Them As to Which of Them Are Best In Deeds
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Allaah (The Most High) stated:
إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَّهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا
وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا
Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds. [i.e.those who do good deeds in the most perfect manner, that means to do them (deeds) totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance to the legal ways of the Prophet]. And verily! We shall make all that is on it (the earth) a bare dry soil (without any vegetation or trees, etc.).
Imaam Sadi (rahimahullaah) stated: Allaah (The Most High) informed (us) that He has made everything on the face of the earth- such as the delicious foods and drinks, the beautiful houses, the trees, the rivers, the vegetations, the fruits, the beautiful scenes (or beautiful things that captures the attention of the eyes), the pretty gardens, the beautiful images, gold, silver, horses, camels and other than them- as an adornment for it, a trial and test. [لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا -that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds]; that is: The most sincere (i.e. sincerity in worship) and most correct (i.e. carry out deeds in accordance with the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet).
And besides this, Allaah will (finally) make all these things disappear and the earth will return to been a bare dry soil- its enjoyment will disappear and come to an end. This is the reality of this worldly life! Indeed Allaah has made this worldly life clearly visible to us and warned us not to be deceived by it. He urged us towards the home of the (afterlife) – whose enjoyment is ever lasting- out of mercy to us. However, the one who merely looks at the outward appearance of this worldly life and not its true reality is deceived by its adornment and beauty; so he goes along with it like animals do and enjoy himself like cattle that graze around freely. He neither gives concern to the rights of his Lord nor gives importance to knowing his Lord; rather his concern is only to follow his desires in every way he can and in every situation. When death arrives to the likes of these people, they are restless because of the disappearance of the enjoyment (of the worldly pleasures) and due to what they have sent forth of evil deeds.
As for the one who looks at the true reality of this worldly life and knows the true purpose behind it and from it, he utilises from it that which will aid him to fulfil the reason it was created for him (i.e. he utilises the worldly blessings in obedience to Allaah). He utilises his noble lifespan as an opportunity (to obey Allaah). He makes this worldly life a place of transition and not a place of permanent (joy); a place of travel and not a place of permanent residence. Therefore, he strives to know his lord, fulfil the commands of his Lord (and keep away from what his Lord has forbidden) and (strives to) perfect his deeds. This person has the highest station in the presence of his Lord and he is deserving- (by the kindness and mercy of his Lord) – of every good treatment, bliss, nobility and happiness (in the hereafter).
[Source: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan’. slightly paraphrased]